The Nature Conservancy Applauds USDA Decision to Streamline Nutrient Management Programs and Planning

Changes will make it easier for farmers to implement nutrient management plans to improve soil health, protect water quality.

Ben Wickerham, Agriculture Program Director for TNC in Michigan; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Dave Sender, Environmental Tillage Systems; Ryan Shaw, 2019 Soil Health Hero
Nutrient Management Ben Wickerham, TNC; Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack; Dave Sender, Environmental Tillage Systems; Ryan Shaw, 2019 Soil Health Hero. © Ryan Hermes

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The Nature Conservancy in Michigan (TNC) today is applauding decisions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to streamline nutrient management programs and make it easier for farmers to access nutrient management planning services through their ag service providers.

“At TNC, we recognize the important role agriculture retailers and service providers play on the front line of nutrient management, and we applaud USDA’s recent announcement to expand and streamline collaboration with this sector,” said Ben Wickerham, Agriculture Program Director for TNC in Michigan. “We’re proud to work with farmers throughout the Saginaw Bay watershed to implement healthy soil practices that help fields withstand extreme weather events, grow better crops and protect the quality of our drinking water. Working together with partners like the USDA, agribusinesses and producers in the Saginaw Valley and Thumb region, we can ensure the resiliency of Michigan’s food and agriculture industry, which has a more than $100 billion impact on the state’s economy.”

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the changes Monday during a visit to the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center, where he was joined by U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Dan Kildee, (D-Flint).

“Excess nutrients in our lakes and streams can drive significant negative water quality issues,” said Mary Fales, Soil Health and Nutrients Program Director for TNC’s Midwest Division. “We welcome the USDA’s efforts to expand nutrient management opportunities for farmers, improve nutrient management offerings through programs like the Regional Conservation Partnership Program’s (RCPP) and build additional capacity for nutrient management services through USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)’s technical service provider network.”  

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in more than 70 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit or follow @nature_press on Twitter.